Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Art of Open Space at IMWG2009

The EADI Information Management Working Group meets in Copenhagen. The group is using - among other modalities - Open Space to discuss their concerns. In brief OST-like sessions over 50 group members discuss during two days the concerns they share. The conference also includes discussion panels, peer-assist sessions and of course lots of informal networking.

The convening question for the OST part is: What are the issues, ideas, possibilities and opportunities etc. around communicating effectively in global research consortia and networks?

Lucie Lamoreux facilitates the initial session and explains the principles of OST which are all about letting go of control and allowing 'chaos' to happen:
1. Whoever comes is the right person, it is open indeed
2. Whenever it starts is the right time
3. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
4. When it is over is over
5. The law of mobility - once you feel you have made your contribution and heard others you can move on to another group: only the person who reports on the group remains.

The first step is bringing on topics and engage in some wheeling and dealing to establish the topics for the 5 "spaces" at the venue. This happens at "the wall". Topics cover a different range of issues: using podcast for policy dialogues; what makes communicating about research so different from other forms of communication; storytelling; biases in communication about research; interaction between social movements and research groups; how to actually get researcher to communicate; the difference between information management and research communication; how to reach politicians when communicating research outcomes; webtools, thresholds and inclusiveness of web2.0; one laptop per researcher programme and internet under the tree; whose agenda's we do communicate - money, power and equity - do we really listen or are we using voices from the South to legitimatize ourselves and our donors?

After this inventory three time slots remained but they may be filled later on. At the market place initiators move around subjects in the various time slots, explain what they mean and get people to buy into their sessions. Lucy facilitates the process. IMWG-members are not a loud crowd. A few topics are moved around, some proposals to merge topics but few change proposals make it....

Participants will use old style flip charts and blogs and wikis to be continued...

by Rosien Herweijer, Euforic

See also Euforic newsfeeds on climate change; information/knowledge, and from the IMWG 2009 workshop